Who was Prithviraj Chauhan?
- Prithviraj Chauhan, also known as Rai Pithora, was a Rajput monarch from the Chauhan dynasty who governed the kingdoms of Ajmer and Delhi in northern India in the 12th century.
- He was the ruler of the twin cities of Ajmer and Delhi. As king, he embarked on multiple campaigns to expand his lands and earned a reputation as a valiant and fearless warrior.
- His wars with Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori are well-known, as was his dramatic elopement with Sanyogita, the daughter of Raja Jaichand of Kannauj.
Who was Samyukta?
- Samyukta, sometimes known as Sanyogita or Sanjukta, was one of Prithviraj Chauhan’s three wives. Their love story is one of India’s most legendary mediaeval age romances.
- Samyukta is considered to be the manifestation of Tillotama, a heavenly apsara.
- She was well-known not only for her beauty, but also for her education and fighting abilities.
- Princess Sanyogita, daughter of Jaichand, King of Kannauj, and one of Rajput monarch Prithviraj Chauhan’s three brides, is noted for her beauty and epic love tale.
- Sanyogita, who is considered to be the manifestation of Tillotama (a divine apsara), is also known as Samyukta or Sanjukta.
- Her father was dissatisfied with her affair with Prithviraj Chauhan and thus chose to perform’swayamvara’ for her daughter without inviting her boyfriend.
Samyukta and Prithviraj Chauhan
- Prithviraj was a prominent emperor of the Chauhan dynasty, whose dominion encompassed most of the Indian subcontinent.
- Many kings at the time, notably Jaichand, the King of Kannauj, were envious and scared of his influence.
- Samyukta, Jaichand’s daughter, was recognised for her beauty and charm. Samyukta was captivated by Prithviraj’s reputation, and she fell in love with him, which he was made aware of.
- Because Jaichand and Prithviraj were bitter enemies, the King of Kannauj was horrified when he learned of his daughter’s affair. He made the decision to offend Prithviraj.
- In 1185 CE, he organised a svayamvara for his daughter, to which royalty from all over the world was invited, except for Prithviraj.
- He also commissioned a clay statue of Prithviraj to serve as a metaphorical “doorman” to Jaichand’s palace.
- When Prithviraj learned of the upcoming svayamvara, he concocted a plot to flee with Samyukta.
- Samyukta proceeded down the aisle and placed the garland around the neck of Prithviraj’s statue, pronouncing him her husband, on the day of the svayamvara.
- Soon after, Prithviraj, who was hidden behind the statue, apprehended Samyukta and rode her to Delhi on his horse.
- During the Swayamvara, Sanyogita is said to have walked past all the kings and princes, ignoring them all, and placed the garland around the neck of Prithviraj’s statue. Prithviraj, it turned out, was lurking behind the statue.
- He leapt from behind the statue, scooped Sanyogita into his arms, and hurried her away to Delhi.
· Sanyogita is the daughter of Kannauj’s Jaichand or Jayachandra. The king was bitterly opposed to Prithviraj Chauhan.
· Jaichand had joined forces with the Chandela king, Paramardi, to fight Prithviraj.
· Sanyogita had fallen in love with Prithviraj Chauhan after hearing stories about the king’s bravery.
· Prithviraj, in turn, fell in love with the princess after hearing about her incredible beauty. Behind Jaichand’s back, the two were developing a romance.
· When Jaichand learned of the couple’s love, he resolved to put an end to it and developed a plan to humiliate his competitor.
· Except for Prithviraj, Jaichand organised a huge svayamvara for his daughter, inviting kings from all over the world.
· To further insult the monarch, Jaichand planned to erect a statue of Prithviraj Chauhan and have it positioned near the door to appear as a ‘doorman’ or dvarpala.
· Sanyogita had decided during her svayamvara that her heart belonged to Prithviraj Chauhan.
· Ignoring the rest of her suitors, she went straight to the statue and draped the garland over its neck. This sequence is also reproduced in the Akshay Kumar flick, as seen in the trailer. The monarch, who was hidden behind the monument, swept his beloved into his arms and rode away with Sanyogita to Delhi.
- According to certain sources, Samyukta committed Jauhar in the 12th century in the fort of Ajmer.
- Other traditions, however, claim that she escaped the battlefield with her dasis and died as Sati after learning of Prithviraj Chauhan’s death.